How To Find Motivation When There Is No Finish Line

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Eyes on the prize.

You wanted the extra TWO days of vacation more than you wanted the double fudge brownie. You needed to win the office Biggest Loser challenge more than you needed to go to happy hour with the girls. You baked extra chicken breasts on the weekend, walked on the treadmill while you caught up on Scandal and said no to your husband’s offer for dinner out on Valentine’s Day because SOMEONE (grrr) decided the office weigh-in should be February 15.

You persevered and you did it! You won!

With that extra time banked for a much need family camping trip this summer, you breathe a sigh of relief and enjoy a salted caramel truffle from the heart shaped box your husband surprised you with. (He’s not very good at following instructions.)

Tuesday arrives and you drive right past the gym on the way home. You know you should keep up with your routine but you need to catch up on the laundry. When you get home the last of the chicken is gone, everyone is hungry and no one wants to cook. How about pizza?

The slippery post challenge slop has begun…

The thrill of a big goal is often a POWERFUL motivator but even the most determined competitor takes time off. How do you stay true to your healthy habits when the pressure is off and there isn’t a prize on the line?

Motivation is overrated. It’s all about staying COMMITTED.

That’s the real secret to a healthy and happy fit life.  Challenges, competitions and races can be a part of what keeps you committed as long as you go about it with three very important things in mind.

Connect to your big picture goal.

Whatever kind of competition you choose to participate in you have to connect it with something that lasts longer than 30 days (or however long the program lasts). Take a step back and figure out what the ultimate goal is. Create your Fitness Vision – a picture of your ideal self in five years. Paint a vivid picture of your life, what you’re doing and how you feel. Then make it concrete by writing it down, creating a vision board or drawing a picture.  Use your fitness vision as a guide to create healthier habits that you can sustain as well as help you hit the mark for the short-term goals you’ve set. If you see yourself running a marathon you need to make sure your training plan not only builds your base but also helps keep you running injury free long term.  Starving yourself to win a pot of money in a four-week weight loss challenge won’t help you keep muscle you might want to hike the Inca Trail.

It’s not always about winning.

 Entering a contest or challenge doesn’t always have to be about the big prize. It can be about getting inspired by a group of other women pursuing a common goal. If new workouts and meal plans or coaching support is being provided take it and learn all you can! Use these tools to examine what you’ve been doing and figure out what “healthy habits” might actually be holding you back.  For example, fruit is great but you can overeat anything.  A new plan might make you shift to more vegetables with less fruit. It’s a simple and sustainable change but one that can reap positive benefits on your physique and health numbers.

Don’t swing to far one way or the other.

If you are super competitive and the WIN is what gets you going, be careful not to set yourself up for future failure by going to the extreme. The boomerang effect is a powerful one. You may want to skip the wine after dinner a few weeks before the big finale but cutting out EVERYTHING that makes you happy will only make you crave it more. Pick one thing you love and have a bit of it without guilt. You can find many ways to get your chocolate/salt/pasta craving without going overboard. I love a good protein mug cake to get my chocolate fix without a sugar crash and burn. However, that doesn’t mean I won’t occasionally have piece of dark chocolate with my tea too. I don’t have it every night but I also have never made it completely off limits, even when I am trying to lean out for a photo shoot.

If these tips aren’t enough to help you stay committed, maybe you need a full time coach. Better yet, maybe you need the tools to help you become your own coach. I invite you to take a look at my new book, Motivation Is Made Not Found, to find more tips like these to help you make your own motivation whenever you need it. It’s a collection of my best essays on motivation and a blue print to help create your motivation daily and stay committed. It’s on sale till February 29 so don’t wait till the next office wellness challenge to check it out!

If you are ready for the next competition or challenge, I am pretty sure Michelle has an idea or two. ;)

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About Pamela:

Pamela and I met at Idea World many moons ago and connected view our shared introvert habits. She has been a blessing and joy to my life, adding value every time we speak. She keeps a wonderful blog: www.thrivepersonalfitness.com filled with up to the minute tips about real health and fitness. She has a passion to help other women realize their true potential and love their bodies by harnessing the power of fitness and nutrition.

You can find Pamela on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest  and  YouTube

 

 

 

 

The Bikini Body Equation

OK, I have to admit that I am no mathlete….however, my parents were totally right when they told me I would use math every day.

Don’t let the title fool you, you don’t have to be set on wearing a bikini to feel better all over. What I really want to talk to you about is a feel good formula that is often overlooked today.

The 80/20 Rule

It’s actually pretty basic. For 80% of your time, try to keep 80% of your foods as close to nature as can be. Eat real food people! Don’t give me that bull about it not being convenient. Really, peeling a banana is a huge inconvenience? Perhaps washing that apple just takes too much energy….yeah right. Eating healthy is easy and affordable, so long as you stick to the basics.

Produce:

Pick the cheap stuff! When produce is in season, it will be marked cheaper at your local market. Ears of corn 10 for $1? SCORE! Grab them up and roast, grill or even microwave them. During the warmer months, citrus fruits and lighter veggies are all in season. Pick mindfully and enjoy abundantly.

Stock up on frozen veggies. Vegetables are usually picked at the peak of freshness and then flash frozen so they do retain nutrients. If the produce aisle is looking ragged or they don’t have what you need, consider stocking up on frozen ones instead. Bonus: if you always have some veggies in the freezer, you can always have veggies on hand.

Grains:

Keep them whole and close to nature. For abounding energy and overall health, plus the addition of a flatter belly, try ditching bread 80% of the time. The whole yeast/gluten/sugar combo (even in whole grains) can wreak havoc on the digestive system, therefore affecting the metabolism. When choosing grains, head for quinoa, brown rice, oats, bran, millet, barley, etc. These are utilized more readily and assimilated for energy easier in their closer to nature states.

Proteins:

Keep them lean and try to have them later in the day. Fish is an excellent source of protein for overall health and you can consume it several times per week. I eat fish almost every day from a variety of sources, as variety is key to a healthy diet. Turkey, chicken and lean red meat and game are also good sources of animal protein. Plant protein can also be consumed in tofu, tempeh, hemp, brown rice, etc. Know what works best for your body and vary it up.

Fats:

I actually eat lots of healthy fats. I mean, if eating an entire avocado a day is wrong, then I don’t want to be right! Stick to healthy, close to nature fats such as avocados, coconut oil, olive oil, grape seed oil, pumpkin seeds, almonds, walnuts, natural nut butters (especially almond), etc. These help to keep skin hydrated and supple, just remember that portions should be smaller.

The final key to being ready to strut in your bikini (or shorts, jeans, dress or suit)….

Confidence:

I encourage this 100% of the time. The people who make an entrance, make an impression and ultimately make an impact have confidence, not perfection. None of us have a perfect body or skin. Even super models (as blessed as they are) do get air brushed. Considering the fact that we don’t walk around with portable airbrushing machines, let go of your insecurities and hold your head high. The number one way to do this is to stop comparing yourself to others. The second way to this is to stop judging others. When a judgemental thought about someone else pops into your head, send it packing! When we judge others, we tend to feel judged as well.

Here are my top tips to boosting my own confidence. Hey, I speak in public for a living and spend loads of time in spandex :) Steal what works for you!

  1. Try on EVERYTHING! I actually still shop for clothes in person, not online. Even the same company can make jeans that fit totally different. Don’t tie yourself to one size, think more of fit.
  2. Throw away the scale. I’m tired of this fight….let it go, you’ll feel better once the withdrawal lets up.
  3. Adopt a personal mantra. Mine is a powerful Bible verse: “She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come.” Proverbs 31:25
  4. Workout to feel good and increase, not decrease, energy.
  5. Eat foods that nourish your body and your body will return the favor….just give it time :)

Hopefully these few tips will help you on your road to health and wellness. Beware of quick fix detours and remember to never give up!

Michelle

 

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Top Ten Ways To Lighten UP for Summer

As we approach the warmer months, here are my top 10 ways to lighten the load and start your Summer off feeling a bit more comfortable :)

  1. Start light. I know this may seem counter-intuitive to some (I even believed and preached the “big breakfast” sermon many times!), but research shows that eating a lighter breakfast will actually set you us for a fully functioning digestive system which will lighten you in more ways than one. This will enable your body to assimilate your foods more readily and free up your energy. Think about starting with a whole foods smoothie (bazillion points for green ones!), a fruit plate, some chopped veggies or even some gluten-free toast (I’m really into spelt right now) with smashed avocado and sea salt.
  2. Think nurture, not punish. Instead of hitting the weights first thing or going for sprint training, consider a yoga or Pilates class to start your day. This can help ease any inflammation and aid in digestion, releasing more energy for the rest of your day. Not into either of those? Take a brisk walk instead and save the weights and/or cardio for end of day training.
  3. De-clutter your kitchen. Spend about an hour this weekend chunking out processed foods that don’t make you feel great. Seriously, get rid of them. This process will set you up for success and free up some space in your kitchen which will enable you to feel more comfortable in your space.
  4. Take it to the closet. While you’re at it, take a little time to throw out the clothes you never wear AND the ones that are so ratty it’s really mean to make your family look at you while you wear them :) . I know it’s hard (trust me, I did it a couple of months ago), but in the end your closet and your spirits will feel lighter. The ones that aren’t extremely worn can be washed (please people!) and folded and donated to a local homeless shelter or shelter for abused women.
  5. Evaluate your schedule. Sit down with your to-do list and your actual what-I-really-do-list. Start to cut back on things that suck up your time and make you feel unproductive (Facebook anyone?). This will help you to re-evaluate your priorities and level up your time so you don’t feel overwhelmed.
  6. Go outside! Find a wooded path to walk or hike, take your dog out for a walk or go for a soothing bike ride. You can even find outdoor yoga classes this time of year as well. Spending a little time in the fresh air (try jumping on a trampoline for an energy lift!) can reinvigorate your creativity.
  7. Try a new workout. Head to that new Barre class with your friend, try out a hot yoga class, or even check out the latest pole dancing class (of course, you’ll have lunch after!). Trying something new allows your mind to stop overcontrolling everything all the time. It can also allow you to act on a different part of your personality, freeing up some of that stress we hold on to.
  8. BREATHE! When was the last time you sat down, closed your eyes and just took some deep breaths? It sounds corny, but it really does help. Try this: find a comfortable seat anywhere where you can relax…but don’t fall asleep on me. Close your eyes and take a deep inhale through the nose, counting to 6. Hold the breath lightly at the top, then take a slow exhale, counting to 8. Hold at the bottom and repeat. This will send a “Calm Down” signal to the central nervous system and allow your brain to process thoughts and emotions even better.
  9. Plan some leisure time. Summer is not the time to get all up tight. Set aside some time to indulge on reading a book or simply laying in the sun for a bit (SPF please). Play with your children or visit an old friend or neighbor. Set aside thoughts of “I could be doing something productive right now” and just be in the moment. Life is short, enjoy the still moments when you can.
  10. Get off the computer. Really. Click the screen off, place your hands over your eyes and take 10 deep breaths. Then stand up and stretch, walk a little and return ready to go…or keep walking :)

Hopefully, you can use these tips to create an enjoyable Summer for yourself and those around you.

Until next week,

Michelle

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